Shearman & Sterling

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Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shearman & Sterling
Headquarters 599 Lexington Avenue,
New York City, United States
No. of offices 18
No. of attorneys 850
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Creighton Condon (senior partner)
Revenue US$820.5 million (2013)[1]
Profit per equity partner US$1.8 million (2013)[1]
Date founded 1873 (New York City)
Company type Limited liability partnership
Slogan Global reach and a world of experience

Shearman & Sterling LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in New York City, United States. It is organized as a single, integrated partnership with approximately 850 lawyers in many of the commercial centers of the world. The firm's lawyers practice US, English, EU, French, German, Italian and Hong Kong law.

Shearman & Sterling was founded in New York City in 1873 and is considered a part of the group of elite American "white shoe" law firms.[2]


Wall Street origins[edit]

Shearman & Sterling was founded in 1873 by Thomas Shearman and John William Sterling, who concentrated on litigation and transactional matters respectively. The young firm represented financier Jay Gould and industrialist Henry Ford, and cultivated a number of important business ties that would evolve into long-standing client relationships, such as with the Rockefeller family and the predecessor banks to Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.[3]

Postwar global expansion[edit]

The firm experienced international expansion in the post-World War II era under the direction of Boykin C. Wright, a senior partner who joined the firm from Cahill Gordon & Reindel with a group of lawyers, briefly leading the firm to add his name to the letterhead.[4] The firm's first international office was established in Paris in 1963.

In postwar Germany, Shearman & Sterling helped German companies such as Siemens and BASF restructure their debts and re-emerge as credible exporters to the United States. The firm's lawyers assisted Daimler in its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993, the first such listing by a German company, prompting other major companies to follow suit.[5] The firm then represented the German automaker in its purchase and subsequent sale of Chrysler.

The firm is well known for its ability to compete in key legal markets, particularly in Germany where its mergers and acquisitions practice is preeminent and in the United Kingdom, where it fields one of the largest London offices of a non-UK law firm.[6]

Elsewhere, the firm played an important role in the establishment of state-owned oil and gas companies, including Sonatrach in Algeria and throughout the Middle East. In 1979, Shearman & Sterling lawyers represented Citibank during the intense negotiations that ensued during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, after the US government froze all Iranian assets in US banks.[7]

Shearman & Sterling has been involved in Latin America for decades. The firm's lawyers helped restructure the debts of many Latin American nations in the 1980s in the Brady transactions. It also won mandates in the privatization of numerous state-owned entities. In 2004, the firm launched an office in São Paulo, Brazil and has since represented Brazilian companies in a number of important transactions.

In East Asia, Shearman & Sterling was one of the first firms to grasp the future strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region, establishing offices in Hong Kong in 1978, followed by Beijing, Singapore and Shanghai.


Shearman & Sterling has attained recognition in a number of legal publications and industry rankings for its work in the United States and internationally across a range of practices areas, including: dispute resolution/litigation, international arbitration, project finance, public international law, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions.[8][9]

Pro Bono[edit]

Shearman & Sterling has an active pro bono practice. Globally, the firm is pro bono counsel to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania. Shearman routinely assists the ICTR through seconding one lawyer there per month to work on particular projects. The firm also assists FINCA International, the pioneering microcredit and village banking non-profit organization. Other pro bono initiatives include asylum cases, Violence Against Women Act petitions, criminal appeals and art law representations.

Recent notable mandates[edit]


  • Advising long-time client Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited in its proposal to acquire BlackBerry Limited for $9 per share in cash, for an aggregate transaction value of approximately $4.7 billion.
  • Obtained acquittal of Richard Bai, Director of Sales for Notebook LCD panels at AU Optronics of Taiwan, on criminal price-fixing charges after a three-week trial in the Northern District of California.
  • Counseled Merrill Lynch in its sale to Bank of America for $50 billion.[10]
  • Advised the Dow Chemical Company in its $18 billion acquisition of specialty chemicals manufacturer Rohm & Haas, the subsequent restructuring of that deal and then the sale of Morton Salt.[11]
  • Represented the underwriters in the $8 billion IPO of Banco Santander's Brazilian subsidiary, the largest IPO of 2009.[12]
  • Representing GE in its acquisition of the aviation business of Avio S.p.A., an Italian manufacturer of aviation propulsion components and systems for civil and military aircraft, for $4.3 billion.
  • Acting as lead counsel to a consortium of 12 of the largest technology companies in the world, organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, in connection with the acquisition and licensing of Eastman Kodak Company’s digital imaging patent portfolio.



  • Advised on the $605 million sale by ArcelorMittal of Skyline Steel and Astralloy Business to Nucor Corporation; the firm also achieved a significant litigation victory in favor of ArcelorMittal Stainless Belgium N.V
  • Ongoing representation of shareholders of Yukos Oil Company in arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation stemming from the bankruptcy and subsequent nationalization of the Yukos company. The compensation sought by the claimants exceeds $33 billion.[17]
  • Represented Société Générale in its €4.8 billion equity offering, the proceeds of which were used to repay the French state for its support during the financial crisis.[18]
  • US, Italian and German law counsel to UniCredit in its €4 billion rights issue in January 2010.[19]

Middle East and Africa[edit]

  • Advised on the financing for the Sadara Chemical Company, the joint venture between the firm's long-standing client Dow Chemical Company and Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Sadara closed a SAR 7.5 billion (approximately US$2 billion equivalent) sukuk in Saudi Arabia as part of the financing for the $20 billion Sadara integrated chemical project—the largest Saudi project finance sukuk ever issued.
  • Advised on the $3.7 billion financing for the redevelopment of a refinery at Mostorod, near Cairo—the largest-ever project financing in Africa.
  • Advised ADNOC in its US$10 billion joint venture with ConocoPhillips to develop the Shah gas field in the United Arab Emirates.[20]
  • Represented Qatar's sovereign wealth fund in its purchase of a significant stake in Volkswagen and Porsche for €7 billion.[21]
  • UK Counsel to Barrick Gold in its spin-off of its African mining assets and the subsequent £2.4 billion listing on the London Stock Exchange in February 2010.[22]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shearman London revenue up 20 per cent on back of Condon's three-year growth plan". The Lawyer. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Shearman & Sterling LLP". Chambers Associate. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Hoffman, Paul (1973) Lions of the Eighties: The Inside Story of the Powerhouse Law Firms, New York: Doubleday.
  4. ^ Stewart, James (1983) The Partners: Inside America's Most Powerful Law Firms, New York: Simon & Schuster.
  5. ^ Miriam Wildman, 'Daimler's NYSE Listing Piques German Interest,' New York Times November 19, 1994.
  6. ^ Berris, Julia (2007) The Lawyer, "Shearman & Sterling: Empire State."
  7. ^ Bruce van Voorst et al., 'Iran Hostages: How the Bankers Did it,' Time Magazine, February 2, 1981.
  8. ^ Chambers & Partners (2010) Chambers Global Rankings,
  9. ^
  10. ^ Sofia Lind, 'Wachtell, Shearman head up $50b Merrill sale,' Legal Week, September 15, 2008,
  11. ^ Jack Kaskey, 'Dow Chemical to Buy Rohm & Haas for $15.4 billion', Bloomberg, July 10, 2008,
  12. ^ Luke McLead-Roberts, 'Davis Polk, Shearman advise on £5bn Brazilian IPO,' The Lawyer, October 7, 2009.
  13. ^ Tom Young, 'China's first dual listing sets important precedent,' International Financial Law Review, November 15, 2006,
  14. ^ Sofia Lind, 'Shearman in top gear on GM's Hummer sell-off,' Legal Week, June 3, 2009,
  15. ^ Katie Merx, 'GM to Wind Down Hummer as Sichuan Tengzhong Sale Accord Fails,' Business Week, February 24, 2010.
  16. ^ Sophia Lind, 'Six Firms Take Roles on Biggest Hong Kong IPOs of the Year,' Legal Week, September 21, 2009.
  17. ^ Yevgeny Kiselyov, 'Yukos Could Bankrupt the Kremlin's Reputation,' St. Petersburg Times, April 24, 2009,
  18. ^ Jeremy Hodges, 'Shearman takes lead role for SocGen on €4.8bn cash call,' Legal Week, October 6, 2009,
  19. ^ James Swift, 'Links and Shearman advise on €4bn UniCredit rights issue,' The Lawyer, January 21, 2010.
  20. ^ Julia Berris, 'Shearman strikes rich vein of work in Abu Dhabi,' The Lawyer, July 20, 2009,
  21. ^ 'German earnin', The Lawyer, October 19, 2009.
  22. ^ Jeremy Hodges, 'Shearman and Linklaters strike gold on billion-dollar mining IPO,' Legal Week, February 19, 2010.

External links[edit]